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Karen Kilimnik @ 303 Gallery


The Hellfire Club episode of the Avengers, installation view, 1989
Mixed media installation, Dimensions variable
Image courtesy of the artist & 303 Gallery

 

Karen Kilimnik
303 Gallery
547 W 21st Street
New York, NY 10011
March 11, through April 23, 2011

Karen Kilimnik’s tenth exhibition at 303 gallery revisits her 1989 installation The Hellfire Club episode of the Avengers. The Avengers, a 1960s British television series, incorporated elements of science fiction, fantasy and British eccentricity. Kilimnik plays with these themes by including personal photographs of houses, gardens and The Beatles alongside life-size photocopies of stars from the Avengers (Emma Peel and John Steed). In addition to these photographs are old ones of Kilimnik’s original installation of the Avengers in 1989, further blending the past and present. A soundtrack of clinking chandelier glasses, referencing the show’s prologue scene of Peel and Steed clinking glasses is woven with fragments of music, such as Johann Bach, Madonna, and The Rolling Stones. The soundtrack converses with the installation’s scattered objects: gold frames, swords, drawings, photos, velvet curtains and an axe. Disparate yet related sources are intertwined suggesting multiple narratives. There is a feeling of incompletion and missing pieces to the work that leaves space for the viewer to fill in gaps with their own histories and notions of glamour, beauty, reality and fiction.

Accompanying Kilimnik’s installation is a series of new photographs related to previous paintings. An example, Dirty Snow/Oscar De La Renta Gown, shows half-melted snow tainted with tar and street grime. There is an intimate quality and texture to Kiliminik’s photos that, much like her paintings and installations, feel personal but not indulgent. Similarly to Kilimnik’s installation there is room left in the photographs for the viewer to form their own unique relationship with the work. Her exhibition seems especially poignant in an age where ideas of reality are formed through a bombardment of disjointed information and images. We piece together our worlds through an array of sources: facebook, twitter, reality TV, John Stewart and Fox News, to create realities both real and imagined. She manipulates a range of media and subject matter to address the myths acquired by objects, celebrities and culture over time by blurring and fragmenting the past, present, fantasy and reality. Kilimnik creates new worlds that expose our own.


The Hellfire Club episode of the Avengers, installation view, 1989
Mixed media installation, Dimensions variable
Image courtesy of the artist & 303 Gallery



The Hellfire Club episode of the Avengers, installation view
Image courtesy of the artist & 303 Gallery



The Hellfire Club episode of the Avengers, installation view, 1989
Mixed media installation, Dimensions variable
Image courtesy of the artist & 303 Gallery



The Hellfire Club episode of the Avengers, installation view, 1989
Mixed media installation, Dimensions variable
Image courtesy of the artist & 303 Gallery

 

Katherine Mangiardi

Katherine Mangiardi is an artist and writer based in New York. She holds an MFA in Painting from RISD and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She can be contacted at kmangiardi@gmail.com

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